Peabody pitcher Tianna Dawe contributed on both sides of the ball for the Tanners in a win over Lynn Classical on Monday. (Owen O'Rourke)

Peabody softball gets early jump on Classical

PEABODY -- The game may have taken seven innings to play, but for all intents and purposes, it was over after the first.

For a while Monday, the softball game between Peabody and Classical at the Kiley School got tight enough to produce some drama. But the Tanners (7-0) ended up winning fairly comfortably, 8-4, while the Rams (6-1) tasted defeat for the first time.

But it was the first inning that made all the difference. Classical loaded the bases with one out, but then squandered the opportunity when Tanner pitcher Tianna Dawe reared back and struck out the final two hitters.

Then, in the bottom of the inning, Peabody made sure it squeezed everything it could out of its chances, going through the batting order and putting four runs on the board.

"I'm telling you, they came here like they were playing the first game of the World Series," said Classical coach Erica Richards. "They were so sky-high, and I thought we were flat."

With one out in the top of the first, Tori Adams hit a slap single to left and went to third when Kayla Morrell reached on an error. After a walk to Meghan Leavitt, Dawe got tough and set both Johnna Caulder and Kiara Edmonds down on strikes.

"Tianna was ahead of us," said Richards. "And it's awfully tough to bat against her when you have two strikes right away."

In the bottom of the first, Mallory LeBlanc started out with a single and Makayla Rooney walked. Lucianna Mastromatteo's double knocked in LeBlanc and sent Rooney to third. Kristina Rossignoll followed with another double off Classical starter Adams knocking in two more runs. Sydney Lowry finished off the scoring by driving in Rossignoll with a base hit.

While Adams had her problems on the mound in the first inning, she settled down for the next three. Meanwhile, Classical began clawing back.

"I have to give us credit for that," said Richards, who was anything but happy at the way her team played. "We did try to come back."

It started in the third inning when Rebecca Walker blasted a home run over the fence in center field. In the fourth, Amanda Wilkins put one almost in the exact same place, and it was 5-2.

"They did hit a couple out," said Peabody coach Butch Melanphy. "But fortunately for us, no one was on base either time. You don't mind giving them up as long as they're solo homers. This isn't a very big park, so you're going to give some up."

Classical's best chance to tie the Tanners came in the fifth. With Walker on base via a walk and Morrell via a single, Caulder brought them both around with a base hit. But that was all.

Still, it was 5-4 and the Rams had built up a head of steam.

"I knew they'd come back," said Melanphy. "That's a good team over there, well coached, and there weren't going to quit. We just had to hold on."

Peabody scored a crucial insurance run in the bottom of the fifth when Dawe singled and eventually came around on a wild pitch. And in the sixth, Peabody scored two more runs to put the game out of reach.

"The girls learned a valuable lesson today," said Richards. "It wasn't a fun one today. You don't mind losing if you play the way you know you can play and just get beat. But that's not what happened today."

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